Molepolole Teen Club: A Volunteer Passes the Torch

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The following post is courtesy of Molly Waite, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and former Adult Volunteer for Molepolole Teen Club:

A Peace Corps Volunteer prepared a cake to celebrate over a year of Molepolole Teen Club events. (Photo courtesy of Lena Muldavin)

Molepolole Teen Club: A Volunteer Passes the Torch

Back in October 2008, when I was working as a new Life Skills Peace Corps Volunteer in Molepolole, Botswana, I joined a group of volunteers to organize a Baylor Teen Club in the village without actually knowing much about what it entailed. But eventually we found Hope World Wide Botswana, a local NGO (non-governmental organization) to sponsor the club. In November 2008, we started holding Teen Club meetings with about five HIV-positive adolescents, referred by doctors and nurses working at the local hospital. By May 2010 we had more than 25 members with the numbers still rising. So as myself and other volunteers prepared to leave, we decided to have a meeting with Hope World Wide as well as the new and old volunteers.

We began by discussing our many accomplishments. Two male and female Teen Leaders were elected and participated in planning and implementing the monthly meetings on the first Saturday of every month between 10:30am and 2:30pm. With the adult facilitators and the Teen Leaders we learned how to work together as a team to meet the needs of the teen members. We planned a day at a swimming pool to teach members to swim. Another time we invited a hip hop artist to teach us to dance. One weekend a year ago, we went to a local game reserve to learn about the animals and to improve teamwork within our club, and planned many life skill activities. We learned about self-awareness by drawing an outline of each teen on the floor, followed by writing and discussing the individual’s personal qualities. Barclays Bank Botswana sent representatives to teach the teens how to handle money through projects involving budgeting. We have had sessions on dating, medication adherence and ARV medication, etc. More recently we have watched and discussed videos in Setswana and English about discrimination against those living with HIV as well as how to live positively with HIV. And in addition to all this we have conducted energizers, sporting activities, lunch and crafts.

So as I left Botswana in June 2010, I felt assured that Molepolole Teen Club will be in capable hands and continue in the near future to address the challenges that our teen members have in terms of living positively and learning how to be future leaders. Both the Teen Leaders and the adults have a passion and commitment to lead the club forward. So I can feel assured that the group we started over a year ago will be in good hands.